DJ Drama Revisits Outkast’s Shelved ‘Gangsta Grillz’ Mixtape

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DJ Drama has revisited the Outkast Gangsta Grillz mixtape that almost happened but ultimately ended up being put on ice.

Speaking on the Rory & Mal Podcast, Mr. Thanksgiving went into detail about the mythical tape that never was and explained why it didn’t end up happening.

“Outkast was supposed to do a Gangsta Grillz,” Drama explained. “Me, their manager at the time, Blue Williams, Dre and Big Boi all got on the phone, we were gonna do a Gangsta Grillz … It was supposed to come out before [Outkast’s last album] Idlewild.

“They said, ‘Listen Dram, honestly as much as we wanna do it we don’t have the time, we’re working on the soundtrack and we’re working on the movie. But we wanna offer you a record for your album, like an Outkast record.’ And I was like, ‘What? Hell yeah! Okay.’”

The track in question would end up becoming “The Art of Storytelling, Pt. 4” featuring Marsha Ambrosius, which landed on Drama’s debut studio album, Gangsta Grillz: The Album.

The Philly DJ and Generation Now co-founder recalled what it took to get the record done. “So I started sending Dre every hot producer in the game’s beats,” he told Rory and Mal. “I sent him everybody’s beats. I’m not gonna name no names, but, you know, at the time I was on fire, everybody was sending me beats … I was sending them and he was turning everything down.”

Eventually he asked his Generation Now partner Don Cannon to make him a beat similar to one he did on Jim Jones’ The Seven Day Theory mixtape, which Drama sent to André 3000 once he was released from jail after famously being arrested for bootlegging and racketeering.

“Literally days after I got out of jail and the raid happened and everything, I had the beat and I sent it to Lake, who was working with Marsha at the time, and I called her and I was like, ‘Listen, I need something like: This is not the end for me. I can’t be stopped, nothing’s gonna stop us. We gon’ keep going.’ And she literally took what I told her and that was her hook.”

Drama continued: “She sent it back to me, I sent it to 3000. He said, ‘Gimme 24 hours,’ and the next day he sends me back his verse for that song. So then I went to go see Big [Boi], and at the time I wasn’t even like — I didn’t know if it was gonna be an Outkast record, I just had a 3000 verse. And then Big heard it and was like, ‘Oh yeah, this is the one. He got on it and he named it ‘The Art of Storytelling, Pt.4.’”

Elsewhere in the interview, Drama said he wants “all the smoke” as far as Verzuz battles go, and he believes he could defeat DJ Khaled in a face off.

“How ’bout we just do it and see who wins?” he told Mal, who asked him who would win in a Verzuz between him and Khaled. “You can throw anybody in the mix and let’s see who wins. I want all the smoke. When it comes down to Verzuz, like what? I got a lot of cultural records. I am not to be underestimated.”

He added: “LOX put on a master class and I would do the same fucking thing if I got my Verzuz. Set it up. I really like that. I’m the full package. Nobody’s outperforming me.”